Time and again, I see the word sophisticated being used to describe a piece of software. It is annoying for it is meaningless. All this means is that the program is doing what it’s designed to do. Of course, complex problems require complex solutions. Someone describing a program as “sophisticated” simply admits that he has no idea how it works.
Still more amusing to see this in New York Times: “Now, for the first time, a sophisticated artificial intelligence program running on a powerful computer network is conducting 4.5 trillion calculations per second to vastly narrow down the possibilities.”
After years of dealing with IT -related inquires of all shapes and sizes, I think I can finally point out my favorite question coming from an average, innocent user.
“So, What’s Wrong With It?” is an absolute delight. On top of being ridiculously rhetorical, it still contains a hopeful, but illusive possibility that some sort of explanation exists or can be found.
But, in the end, such possibility remains an illusion. The only way to answer is this:
“Don’t you see? IT DOESN’T WORK. THAT’S WHAT’S WRONG WITH IT!”
Libraries don’t have any natural predators. Our challenges come from the environment.
In business terms: Libraries don’t compete with one another or with other cultural institutions. They are, however, affected by social, financial, political realities, which are largely outside of their control.
As a result of such non-competitive environment, libraries’ survival skills are very poor.
OCLC develpments: on behalf of and for the member libraries
WorldCat as a universal repository for human knowledge resources and cultural objects
Libraries rule the Web!
A Definition of Technology: Technology is Designed to Fail.
When we implement any new technology, we are sure of two things:
- It will break at some point, and
- When it works, it will not work as expected.
In fact, we expect these two things to happen. We purchase our technology with a service plan, we ask for a warranty, we have user support networks and professionally staffed helpdesks.
This is a NORM. And this principle of build-in failure is most apparent in the Information Technology, simply because we all use IT tools, without necessarily understanding how and why they were designed this particular way.
Technology (technological solutions) must be Simple & Elegant.
If it isn’t, it’s not even worth considering.